Tag Archive | United States

Infosys Fined an Unprecedented $35,000,000.00 by the U.S. Government for Employing B-1 Visas in Lieu of H-1Bs

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Government will fine Infosys, an Indian Technology/Consulting giant, almost $35,000,000.00 for employing B-1 visa workers in lieu of H-1B visa workers.

By way of background, last year, Judge Thompson of the Federal Court for the Middle District of Alabama rejected all claims brought by Jack Palmer against his employer, Infosys. Palmer claimed to have been harassed and retaliated against after making allegations that Infosys’ massive B-1 visa program was used fraudulently in place of more appropriate visas. Palmer’s rejected claims were subsequently resurrected by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, which continued its investigation into whether Infosys wrongly filed B-1 visas for workers performing work that actually required H-1B visas.

In a 2011 blog post I wrote about how Infosys may have been engaging in a perfectly legal action; per 9 FAM 41.31 N11, “ALIENS NORMALLY CLASSIFIABLE H-1 OR H-3″:

“There are cases in which aliens who qualify for H-1 or H-3 visas may more appropriately be classified as B-1 visa applicants in certain circumstances; e.g., a qualified H-1 or H-3 visa applicant coming to the United States to perform H-1 services or to participate in a training program. In such a case, the applicant must not receive any salary or other remuneration from a U.S. source other than an expense allowance or other reimbursement for expenses incidental to the alien’s temporary stay. For purposes of this Note, it is essential that the remuneration or source of income for services performed in the United States continue to be provided by the business entity located abroad, and that the alien meets the following criteria:

(1) With regard to foreign-sourced remuneration for services performed by aliens admitted under the provisions of INA 101(a)(15)(B), the Department has maintained that where a U.S. business enterprise or entity has a separate business enterprise abroad, the salary paid by such foreign entity shall not be considered as coming from a “U.S. source;”

(2) In order for an employer to be considered a “foreign firm” the entity must have an office abroad and its payroll must be disbursed abroad. To qualify for a B-1 visa, the employee must customarily  be employed by the foreign firm, the employing entity must pay the employee’s salary, and the source of the employee’s salary must be 
abroad…”

However, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), apparently motivated by Palmer’s Testimony, addressed a strongly worded but poorly researched memo to Secretary Hillary Clinton in which he demanded a complete review of the B-1 visa. His request was inexplicably granted, and the resultant changes substantially injured the economic interests of U.S. organizations engaged in international trade, countermanded congressional intent on the subject, and escalated denials for B-1 applicants at U.S. Consulates, especially those in the ‘B-1 in lieu of H-1B’ category.

Moving back to present: Infosys’ fine is unprecedented in the history of Immigration law.  It will have a major impact on both our nation’s technology/consulting sector and on our Immigration policy. In light of the fact that other nations are eagerly recruiting the world’s best and brightest (sometimes from within our borders), it can only be hoped that the Infosys fine will reinvigorate the push for the creation of a new U.S. visa category specifically designed for short term consulting projects, and/or to increase the U.S.’s yearly quota for H-1B professional workers to a level that isn’t exhausted in one week.

U.S. Mission in India Expands Interview Waiver Program

USA B1/B2 Visa

USA B1/B2 Visa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Delhi | November 19, 2012

In March of 2012, the United States Mission to India unveiled the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) which allows qualified individuals to apply for additional classes of visas without being interviewed in person by a U.S. consular officer.  Following the success of the IWP, as part of continuing efforts to streamline the visa process, and to meet increased visa demand in India,  the U.S. Mission is pleased to announce an expansion of the IWP.  We expect this expansion to benefit thousands of visa applicants in India.

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U.S. Citizen client calls on U.S. Department of State to review overbroad and erroneous Terrorism allegation against her husband

Attorney Ashwin Sharma is defending a client wrongly deemed permanently inadmissible to the U.S. under the Terrorism Related Inadmissibility Grounds (“TRIG”) section in the INA.  TRIG is the same overbroad regulation that many innocent individuals have been unjustly subject to.  For example, an asylee from Burundi was named a terrorist and jailed for 20 months by the U.S. because he was found to have financially supported the Rebel group that robbed him of $4.00 and a bagged lunch.  Similarly, Mr. Nelson Mandela was subject to this regulation for having fought against apartheid.  He required a special waiver from the then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to enter the U.S.

Opponents of TRIG’s overbroad reach have pointed out that even America’s first President George Washington would have been subject to Terrorism Related Grounds of Inadmissibility, as the law stands today, for having fought in the Revolutionary War against the British.

St. Louis landscaping business and owner sentenced for employing illegal aliens and visa fraud

VIA ICE.GOV

ST. LOUIS – A local man and his company were sentenced Thursday in federal court to forfeitures and probation following their visa fraud guilty pleas. The sentences resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

Robert Brake, 33, of Byrnes Mill, Mo., along with his company, Brake Landscaping & Lawncare Inc., pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor charges of employing illegal aliens. Brake Landscaping & Lawncare Inc. is located in the 3500 block of Gratiot Street in St. Louis. The company pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Brake and his company were sentenced to two years of probation. The company paid $145,000 in forfeitures.

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